Religion, Culture and Mental Health

Religion, Culture and Mental Health

Are religious practices involving seeing visions and speaking in tongues beneficial or detrimental to mental health? Do some cultures express distress in bodily form because they lack the linguistic categories to express distress psychologically? Do some religions encourage clinical levels of obsessional behaviour? And are religious people happier than others? By merging the growing information on religion and mental health with that on culture and mental health, Kate Loewenthal enables fresh perspectives on these questions. This book deals with different psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, manic disorders, depression, anxiety, somatisation and dissociation as well as positive states of mind, and analyses the religious and cultural influences on each.


"This book offers an excellent introduction to the field of religion, culture and mental health. It is comprehensive in its overview of contemporary studies. It reads in a clear and lucid way and will be useful for anyone in the field of mental health, religion and culture."
--Simon Dein, Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer in the Academic Department of Psychiatry, University College Hospital London

"Psychology has long needed a text on psychopathology and religion. Now we have it. This excellent book-- scholarly, even-handed, and appreciative of the diversity of religion and culture -- should provide just the jump-start we need to advance the state of research and practice in the field of religion and mental health."
--Kenneth I. Pargament, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Bowling Green State University

"This book provides a challenging, cogent, and well-documented overview of religion, mental health and culture and is a must-read for researchers, practitioners and students interested in the processes through which religion is related to mental health. As well as the traditional focus on mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, Professor Loewenthal also reviews the recent literature on the positive psychology of religion and happiness. Case examples are used throughout the book to illustrate the issues in thoughtful and insightful ways and, coupled with Professor Loewenthal's research and personal wisdom, make this book a compelling read."
--Professor Stephen Joseph, Department of Health and Social Care, University of Nottingham

"In a time of increasingly polarized and politicized views of religion, it has become difficult to think clearly about the impact of religious practice on mental health and illness. Yet, for many people, religion and spirituality are crucial resources for making sense of suffering and affliction. In this thoughtful text, Kate Loewenthal has mapped out the diverse interactions between religion and psychiatry relevant to clinical care. With its careful consideration of the role of religious experience in illness and healing, this book will help practitioners address one of the most central sources of meaning in patients' lives."
--Laurence J. Kirmayer, McGill University and Editor-in-Chief, Transcultural Psychiatry

"This book brings a continued awareness of the importance of religious and cultural factors to any attempts at thought and behavior change. Psychotherapists may well be encouraged to further study, dialogue about, and include this awareness in their clinical practices. Coming from a prestigious publisher such as Cambridge University Press and a prominent and well-respected author, quite apart from its limitations, this book is bound to add to the literature and encourage further discourse and publications from others practicing, researching,and teaching in the field of religion and psychology."
--PsycCritiques, Richard H. Cox

"A balanced view of religion and mental health based on her work and extensive search of the recent literature."
--Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

'… includes many case examples … Each chapter concludes with a review of the findings, providing a succinct overview of the research position … Religion, Culture and Mental Health definitely challenges some of the assumptions that people may have around the possible adverse impact of religious belief and practice on mental health.' Inclusion News